Monthly Wrap Up

May 2008 Wrap-Up

May 2008 Wrap-Up
Here’s my end of the month wrap-up:
  1. James Patterson, The Midnight Club –> This one was not as good as the other Patterson books that I have read, it was just okay for me. I honestly could have skipped this book and never missed anything. 3/5
  2. Jacqueline Seewald, The Inferno Collection –> This one I picked up at the library on a whim. I read it in one day – it was that good!! 4.5/5
  3. Van Ryn & Cerak Families, Mistaken Identity –> In my opinion, I could have done without all the religious comments, but I understand that that is their lifestyle. They could have toned it down a little bit for others though. Otherwise, this was such a heartbreaking story. But I find it really hard to believe that the Van Ryn’s stood over “Laura” (aka: Whitney) for five weeks without knowing that they weren’t looking at their daughter. I think they were grasping for straws near the end. Still a good book though I would have rated it a 5 if the religion had been toned down some. 4/5
  4. Robin Cook, Marker –> I’m not a huge fan of medical thrillers, but I found this one easy to read and follow. This is the second in the Laurie Montgomery/Jack Stapleton series. High enjoyable. 4/5
  5. Carla Neggers, The Widow –> This one was really good. The romance was not overpowering, but just enough – exactly how I like my books!! The ending was surprising and enjoyable. Highly recommended. 4/5
  6. Harlan Coben, The Woods –> Okay, I cannot say enough good things about this book. But I’m going to put it in the plainest terms I can: READ THIS BOOK! It is not to be missed. I was hooked from the first page and could hardly put it down! This is the first book I’ve given a 5/5 to since March!! 5/5
  7. Clive Cussler, Raise the Titanic! –> This one was really good. I’m fascinated by the Titanic and loved that they “raised” her in this book. There were all kinds of twists and turns, really enjoyable! Recommended!! 4/5

Here are some statistics in regards to my reading:

  • Books read: 7
  • Pages read: 2,798
  • New Authors: 4
  • Fiction: 6
  • Nonfiction: 1
  • Read for Challenges: 3
4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Dirk Pitt, Fiction, Read in 2008, SERIES

Raise the Titanic! by Clive Cussler

Raise the Titanic!
by Clive Cussler
Copyright: 1976
Pages: 435
Rating: 4/5
Read: May 28-31, 2008
Challenge: No challenge; personal read

First Line: The man on Deck A, Stateroom 33, tossed and turned in his narrow berth, the mind behind his sweating face lost in the depths of a nightmare.

The President is on a mission to secretly produce a defensive weapon that will change the world forever. To make the weapon work, a very rare, radioactive element is necessary – byzanium. Unfortunately, no trace of the element has been found to date. But Dirk Pitt has traced a stash of the element all the way to the watery grave of the Titanic. When the President gives the go-ahead, a massive undercover operation is begun that will ultimately try to raise the Titanic from the bottom of the ocean – an unheard of, unthinkable feat.
This book was really good. It had my attention from the first page. I have always been fascinated by the Titanic and loved the incorporation of it’s story into this story. I was also intrigued to see that this book was published some 10 years before the Titanic herself was actually found. Kudos to Clive Cussler for making the Titanic come to life even though in reality she is still in her watery grave.
5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Read in 2008

The Woods by Harlan Coben

The Woods
by Harlan Coben
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 508
Rating: 5/5
Read: May 24-27, 2008
Challenge: No challenge; personal read

First Line: I see my father with that shovel.

Prosecutor Paul Copeland is still dealing with the loss of his sister, Camille, twenty years ago. One night she walked into the woods with her summer camp boyfriend and never came out. While working one of the biggest cases of his career, new evidence comes to light. A man’s body has been found, brutally murdered. Evidence points to Copeland, who insists that he is looking at the body of his sister’s boyfriend. The possibility that Gil survived that night brings hope to Copeland that perhaps Camille did as well. Now on a mission to find out the real truth about his sister and that awful night in his teenage past, he will open doors that have been closed for quite some time … doors that most people want to remain closed.
This book was really, really good! I was hooked in from the first few paragraphs. For someone who has been in quite the reading slump, this book was a wonderful relief! This book came highly recommended to me from my mother and grandmother … and for those of you reading this blog: Read this book! Immediately! It is definitely NOT to be missed!!!
Challenge Wrap-Up

Finished Challenge – Eponymous Challenge

Finished my third challenge! I just finished the Eponymous Challenge by Coversgirl.

The rules were to read 4 books whose titles are either the name of a character or a description of a character.

For this challenge I read:

  1. Christopher Andersen, Diana’s Boys: William & Harry & the Mother they Loved
  2. Carla Neggers, The Widow
  3. Nancy Pickard, The Virgin of Small Plains
  4. Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas

I only kept two of my original picks. I have a really bad habit of changing my lists! I need to work on that in the future. Overall I enjoyed this challenge a lot. For the most part I enjoyed all of these books.

Favorite: The Virgin of Small Plains (Pickard)
Least Favorite: Odd Thomas (Koontz)

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, N, Read in 2008

The Widow by Carla Neggers

The Widow
by Carla Neggers
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 332
Rating: 4/5
Read: May 19-24, 2008
Challenge: Eponymous Challenge

First Line: Abigail Browning squirted charcoal lighter fluid on the mound of papers she’d torn up and piled into her backyard grill.

Abigail Browning experienced things on her honeymoon that no women should ever have to go through – her 4 day old marriage ended tragically when her husband, Chris, was shot and killed while on their honeymoon! Seven years later, now a homicide detective, she simply cannot get over the senseless murder of her husband. She can’t let it go. On the seventh anniversary of her marriage, she receives an anonymous call that sends her back to the scene of the murder. But her presence back on Mount Desert Island will cause things to spin out of control. As she pairs up with Owen Garrison, the search-and-rescue man who was too late to save him, they will have to push their feelings aside in order to stop a killer.
This book was really good! There was a little bit of romance, but it wasn’t overpowering, which is how I like my books to be for the most part. The killer was a complete shock for me! It kept me guessing up to the very end. New author for me, and I really enjoyed it. Highly recommended!!
4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Read in 2008, SERIES

Marker by Robin Cook

Marker
by Robin Cook
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 658
Rating: 4/5
Read: May 7-19, 2008
Challenge: Suspense & Thriller Challenge – Medical thriller; Celebrate the Author Challenge; Triple Eight – 500+ Pages category

First Line: In the wee hours of February 2, a cold, steady drizzle drenched the concrete spires of New York City, shrouding them in a dense swirl of purplish-pink fog.

Medical Examiner Dr. Laurie Montgomery’s relationship with fellow colleague Dr. Jack Stapleton begins to crumble when she wakes up and realizes that Jack simply cannot make a commitment to her and that her proverbial clock is ticking if she wants to have a family. So in order to distract herself during this turbulent time she dives into her work. But she soon realizes that there might be a serial killer over at Manhattan General Hospital preying on young, seemingly healthy, patients who are in the post-operative stage after elective surgeries. However, convincing her fellow medical examiner colleagues that there is a series going on is going to be harder than it sounds. Although she slowly begins to unravel the mystery, it won’t be until Laurie herself has to have emergency surgery at Manhattan General that the mystery will finally be solved.
I’m going to be honest, medical thrillers are not really my cup of tea, but I’m starting to get used to them. I enjoyed this one even though it took me forever to finish! I recommend this one. I find Robin Cook to be rather readable and enjoyable, I will probably be looking for more of his in the future.
4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Nonfiction, Read in 2008, U-V-W

Mistaken Identity by the Van Ryn & Cerak Families

Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope
by Don & Susie Van Ryn and Newell, Colleen & Whitney Cerak

Copyright: 2008
Pages: 261
Rating: 4/5
Read: May 11-14, 2008
Challenge: Triple Eight – Bio/Autobio Category

First Line: Colleen Cerak woke up with a start to the sound of the phone ringing.

April 26, 2006. A date that the community of Taylor University will never forget. Returning from a banquet, a university bus carrying students and staff were hit by a truck. The accident scene was terribly violent and chaotic. Five people died. One survived. Laura Van Ryn’s family couldn’t believe that their little girl survived the terrible accident. Whitney Cerak’s family struggled to cope with the loss of their loved one. As Laura began the grueling healing process, her family was there to witness every moment. For five weeks after the accident she was showing amazing progress and the Van Ryn family thought that they were well on their way to returning to normalcy. Then it happened.
“Okay, Laura, I would like for you to write your name for me, the occupational therapist said. … W-H-I-T-N-E-Y…” (pg. 165-167)
The Van Ryn’s simply could not believe it. Had they been caring for Whitney Cerak for the past five weeks under the impression that it was their precious Laura?! Had the Cerak family actually buried their baby girl thinking it was Whitney?! Slowly, they began to remember strange things that “Laura” had recently been saying. Getting names wrong, not recognizing people. Just little things here and there. But it all made sense: “Laura” was actually Whitney!
Once the dental records did indeed confirm the fact that the girl who survived the horrific accident was actually Whitney Cerak, the Cerak family was contacted with amazing news.

“We have reason to believe that the girl identified as Laura Van Ryn is, in fact, your daughter Whitney Cerak.” (pg. 3)

Colleen Cerak could not believe her ears. Could they really have buried a girl other than Whitney? Could they have buried Laura instead?! No one in the family had the strength to view the body before burial … then Colleen began to think, five weeks!?!? How had five weeks gone by without the truth being obvious?! When the Cerak’s were reunited with their daughter, Whitney, everything was perfect.
But then, the Cerak’s wondered, how are the Van Ryn family coping?! They were the ones who, five weeks ago, felt amazingly blessed that their daughter survived a horrific accident in which she should have died. Now they were feeling the despair and heartbreak that the Cerak family had been experiencing for the past five weeks. And to make it worse, the Van Ryn’s were caring for a girl that they believed to be their daughter when in fact it was a stranger to them. How is something like that even possible?!
This book tells their story. It is heartbreaking. It is uplifting. It is amazing. I enjoyed it. Although I am not particularly religious, I understood that their story had to be told from that aspect since both of the families faith is a huge part of their life as well as this story. I highly recommend this book to anyone. It’s a must read.
4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Read in 2008, S

The Inferno Collection by Jacqueline Seewald

The Inferno Collection
by Jacqueline Seewald
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 255
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: May 10, 2008
Challenge: No challenge; personal read

First Line: “May I help you?” Kim Reynolds said the words automatically to the next person who approached the information services desk as she replaced the World Almanac under the ready reference counter.

University reference librarian Kim Reynolds is intrigued when her good friend Lorette Campbell approaches her asking if she’s ever heard of the university having an “Inferno Collection.” But before Kim can figure out the answer to her question, Lorette turns up dead. With the police assuming suicide, Kim sets out to prove them wrong by retracing Lorette’s steps before her death, only to find herself in harm’s way.
Oh my goodness! This book was amazing. I picked it up on a whim at the library today and started it at 2 and didn’t put it down until 6 when I finished it! It was wonderful!! I was practically hooked from the first page. It’s a really great book that I highly recommend. Loved it!!
3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, P, Read in 2008

The Midnight Club by James Patterson

The Midnight Club
by James Patterson
Copyright: 198
Pages: 349
Rating: 3/5
Read: April 28-May 4, 2008
Challenge: No challenge; personal read

First Line: The night that John Stefanovitch was shot couldn’t have been colder, or the stars more dazzling in high winter skies.

When NYPD Detective John Stefanovitch is shot and paralyzed one cold night, he thinks his life couldn’t get worse. But it can. That same night, his wife is shot and killed in their apartment. Who is behind this?! A man known as The Grave Dancer, The Midnight Club and what they call “street law.” And Stefanovitch will stop at nothing to catch this crazed psychopath.
I’m going to be honest here …. this has to be the most disappointing James Patterson book that I have read to date. I was completely uninterested in it. I usually read his books in 2 days tops, but this one just kept dragging on. I didn’t like it much at all. I felt it hard to follow and am still unsure as to what really was supposed to be going on in the book. I just wasn’t impressed by this book whatsoever. I wouldn’t recommend this one at all.
Reading Schedule

2008 Reading Schedule

By May 31

  • Carla Neggers, The Widow(Eponymous)
  • Robin Cook, Marker (Celebrate the Author)

By June 30

  • M.C. Beaton, The Deadly Game (Celebrate the Author)

By July 1

  • Nora Roberts, Blood Brothers (Title Master)
  • James Patterson, Mary Mary (Title Master)
  • M.C. Beaton, The Deadly Dance (Title Master)
  • Kathy Reichs, Deadly Decisions (Title Master)

By July 31

  • Michael Connelly, The Black Echo (Celebrate the Author)

By August 31

  • Nelson DeMille, Night Fall (Celebrate the Author; Triple 8)

By September 30

  • Stephen King, The Shining (Celebrate the Author; 1% Well-Read)

By October 31

  • Ann Rule (Celebrate the Author)

By November 30

  • J.F. Freedman, The Disappearance (Initials Challenge)
  • M.C. Beaton, The Deadly Dance (Initials Challenge)
  • J.A. Jance, Name Withheld (Initials Challenge)
  • P.J. Parrish, Thicker than Water (Series Season 2; Initials Challenge; Triple 8)
  • P.J. Parrish, Island of Bones (Series Season 2)
  • J.D. Robb, Glory in Death (Initials Challenge)
  • Alex Kava, The Soul Catcher (Series Season 2)
  • Alex Kava, A Necessary Evil (Series Season 2)
  • P.J. Parrish, A Killing Rain (Series Season 2)
  • P.J. Parrish, Unquiet Grave (Series Season 2)
  • P.J. Parrish, A Thousand Bones (Series Season 2)
  • Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin (Celebrate the Author; 1% Well-Read)

By December 31

  • David Lifton, Best Evidence: Disguise and Deception in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy (Back to History)
  • Edward Steers, Jr., Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (Back to History)
  • Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins (Back to History; Triple 8)
  • Anthony Summers, Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover (Back to History; Triple 8)
  • Don & Susie Van Ryn, Newell, Colleen & Whitney Cerak, Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope (Triple 8)
  • Anne Robins, A Perfect Stranger (Historical Fiction) (Back to History)
  • Charles Pellegrino, Her Name, Titanic (Back to History)
  • Eleanor Herman, Sex with the Queen: Nine Hundred Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers, and Passionate Politics (Back to History)
  • John Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger (Back to History)
  • Mary Higgins Clark (Celebrate the Author)
  • Matt Dalton, Presumed Guilty: What the Jury Never Knew About Laci Peterson’s Murder and Why Scott Peterson Should Not Be on Death Row(Triple 8)
  • Anne Bird, Blood Brother: 33 Reasons My Brother Scott Peterson is Guilty(Triple 8)
  • Stephen Singular, Unholy Messenger: The Life and Crimes of the BTK Serial Killer (Triple 8)
  • Max Allan Collins, American Gangster (Triple 8)
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Triple 8)
  • Peter Harry Brown & Patte B. Barham, Marilyn: The Last Take (Triple 8)
  • Andrew Morton, Diana: Her True Story (Triple 8)
  • Michael Connelly, The Black Echo(Triple 8)
  • Jeffery Deaver, The Bone Collector (Triple 8)
  • Stephen King, Four Past Midnight (Triple 8)
  • Greg Iles, Turning Angel (Triple 8)
  • Dean Koontz, Strangers (Triple 8)

By Feb. 28, 2009

  • Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex (1% Well-Read)
  • Ian McEwan, Atonement (1% Well-Read)
  • Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace (1% Well-Read)
  • James Ellroy, The Black Dahlia (1% Well-Read)
  • Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1% Well-Read)
  • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein (1% Well-Read)